I am not religious, nor am I a believer. However, I believe that children should at least be exposed to some sort of religious education, if only to sort out what they really do believe. I was immersed in religion as a young person, but left of my own accord before I graduated. I also believe that religion is vitally important to those who follow it, and I deeply respect their beliefs.
Many years ago, I took a small grandson to church because I love music, and in this particular church the congregation was encouraged to sing along with a folk group playing their guitars. As I glanced down, I saw that he was standing silent though listening. I whispered, “Sing”, and he replied in a louder whisper, “I don’t sing”. I frowned and said “Of course you sing. Everybody sings”. He quite adamantly shook his head, and said “I don’t sing”. After the service, when we were outside, I said “If you don’t sing”, why do you go to church”? He said “because I like the stories.”
Stories, either written or oral, are the base of our civilization. Stories are limitless, and connect people from all walks of life. Cultures who had no written language had storytellers. At a lecture by F. Scott Momaday, a Kiowa Indian, he stated that at some time in everyone’s life, he must know from where he came. The Native American has no such problem, because he has been taught the legends of his people over and over his entire life. He can recite his family tree for generations back, and can also remember and tell stories about ancestors long dead. Stories are painted and carved on rocks throughout the world. Reminders to us that we are not unique, and that those who have gone before us left their legacies for us to interpret.
This wise little grandson taught a fine lesson that morning, and I’m glad I was there to hear it.